Penance is a sacrifice. A volunary punishment to show remorse for a sin. The more grievous the sin, the greater the self inflicted suffering. For some, the ultimate penance is death. But for others, it is simply a means to an end.
This week's installment of "Revenge" (Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC) sends Mason Treadwell on a bit of a roller coaster: Just as soon as he thinks he has everything figured out, the rug gets pulled out from under him ... over and over.
Though he figured out the connection between Fauxmanda and Emily -- they were both in juvie together -- he doesn't have all of his details right. He asks Emily if they were lovers who now share a vendetta against the Grayson family. Well, that's partly true.
The stress of Mason's sniffing around makes Fauxmanda go a little nuts. She tells Emily that with everything in her life now -- Jack, the baby -- she can't afford to let Emily call all of the shots. Emily tells her that her new family is the exact reason why she can't do anything risky.
Fueled by post-baby crazy-lady hormones, Fauxmanda ignores the warning. When Mason asks her to lunch, she tells him she's going to get a restraining order on him, as per Emily's request. But, he's probably the one who needs a restraining order -- she shows up with a crowbar aimed at his head. Emily steps in just in time and sends Fauxmanda home to her family. Em reveals to Mason what has been under his nose the whole time: She's the real Amanda Clarke.
Meanwhile, Emily and Aidan keep up appearances as normal people rather than ex-lovers who met at "revenge camp." At an ostensibly normal brunch, Em tells him that they have 24 hours to get Daniel seated as the head of Grayson Global. The prosecutors are going to drop the case against Conrad.
Speaking of, Conrad may have gotten himself out of jail, but not out of danger with the deranged Kara. After Mason tells her that David was framed by the Graysons, Kara decides not to skip town and go instead on a cool and collected murder mission at Grayson Manor.
This time, Aidan steps in, dragging Kara out of the house and out of town with a full tank of gas and a wad of cash. But before she goes, Emily asks her if there's anything she wants to tell Fauxmanda. "Only that I wish I could have been a better mother," she replies.
Back to Mason: The cops show up at his house with a warrant for his arrest. His crime? Killing Gordon Murphy and attempting to pin the blame on Conrad. In a matter of minutes, the police find incriminating evidence from the plane that Emily planted.
Cornered, Mason accepts a bargain proposed by Emily: hH will give a full confession and wave his right to a lawyer. He doesn't really have a choice: If he doesn't, Emily will make sure the police uncover what is necessary to achieve this same end. He will serve time for crimes he didn't commit. But, Emily promises that once she has achieved her revenge, her confession will set him free. Most importantly, Mason will finally be able to write his book about the Clarke saga and bask in its success.
Back at Nolcorp, Nolan hands over the check from David Clarke to Aidan. Though he dislikes Aidan, they both have the same agenda: protecting Emily. Even if it's at the cost of Nolan's own downfall. He tells Emily that she's the only real family he's ever had and he explains to the other important woman in his life -- Padma -- that he may not be the same Nolan Ross come morning. She assures him she'll dig him no matter what.
Love must be in the air, because Emily gives in and furiously makes out with Aidan on her porch at the end of the episode. Finally!
To properly do penance, one must express contrition for one's sins. It is only when thos acts are complete that the slate can truly be wiped clean, and amnesty gives way to a new beginning.
"Revenge" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.